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How to catch March Madness without paying for cable TV

Michael Ansaldo | March 15, 2016
Our cord-cutter's guide will show you how you can watch every game in the tournament for free.

If a pay-TV subscription makes you squeamish, remember that Sling TV requires no contract so you can easily cancel once the tournament ends.

Streaming options

Thanks to the nature of sports broadcasting contracts, streaming options remain slim. There are a couple of ways to for stream tournament games live, though each has its caveats.

One is Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which launched a year ago as an alternative to costly cable subscriptions. With its high monthly fee and big bundle of channels, though, it looked a lot like the model it claimed it was combatting.

Sony recently cut its prices, however, and the basic $40 monthly package offers 60 channels including CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV. Still, that’s double the cost of Sling TV. And it’s currently only available in Chicago, Boston, New York, Dallas, Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We wouldn’t suggest rushing out and subscribing to PlayStation Vue just to watch March Madness, but if you’re already a user you can watch the entire tournament via your Playstation console, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, or iPad.

The other option is NCAA March Madness Live. The NCAA is once again offering all 67 games for free through the app. In addition to the game streams, the app offers live scores and stats, an interactive bracket, classic March Madness videos, game notifications, and curated social content. This year the app expands to 12 platforms: desktop, Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon Fire TV, iPhone, iPad, Android handset, Android tablet, Windows handset, Windows desktop, Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Roku players.

The claim that you can watch the entire tournament with NCAA March Madness Live is misleading, though. While anyone can view the CBS broadcasts with the app, users require an active cable subscription to log in and watch any of the Turner Sports streams. Still, it’s worth downloading if you don’t want to miss any of the CBS matchups when you’re away from a TV.

Time for tip off

Watching sports without cable is still more of a challenge than other TV content. But don’t let cutting the cord make you miss the NCAA champs cutting the net. Take advantage of these cable alternatives and you’ll have sideline seat for one the greatest sporting events of the year.


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